Every chance: Daniella Di Santo with daughters Sienna, 5, and Verona, 3. Photo: Sahlan HayesBy the time a baby born in 2015 graduates from high school, many parents who choose private schools will have spent more than half a million dollars on their child’s education, a new study has found.
The Australian Scholarships Group’s modelling released on Tuesday forecast the cost of private schooling in Sydney to be $541,275, making it the most expensive city in Australia to educate a child.
The breakdown is $175,109 for primary school and $359,043 for high school.
Even sending a child to a public school could cost up to $71,000 in Sydney, while parents would spend up to $234,887 for their child to attend systemic Catholic schools.
In addition to school fees, the index measures the cost of transport, uniforms, computers, school excursions and sporting trips.
The ASG chief executive, John Velegrinis, said parents need to plan financially for schooling from the moment a baby is born.
“Education is one of life’s major investments – in some instances it’s an even bigger investment than the family home,” he said “By putting a little bit away, parents are more likely to achieve the goals and aspirations they have for their children.”
By the time a child born this year reaches year 12 in 2032, the annual cost of a private education is expected to be as high as $68,624.
This is double the current tuition fees at Sydney’s most expensive schools, with a number now charging more than $30,000 per year.
Sydney Grammar, for example, charges $31,419 for annual senior tuition, while The King’s School asks for $31,581 and Redlands costs $30,750.
The average tuition for senior students at Catholic schools in the Sydney diocese is about $2200.
The executive director of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, Geoff Newcombe, said the main cost drivers in independent schools were salaries, implementing the curriculum, technology and first class facilities.
“[In high-fee schools] parents would generally expect and receive more individual attention for their child, more curriculum and extra-curricular options, innovative teaching and learning practices, and good quality learning environments,” he said.
Mr Newcombe said some private schools serving lower socio-economic communities charge as little as $2000.
Those planning to send their child to public schools in Sydney can expect to pay $4400 at year 6 in 2026 and $7084 in year 12 at 2032.
Expenses for a primary school child attending school this year include extracurricular ($1763), clothing ($309), travel ($289) and computers ($471).
David Jordan, chairman of the Voluntary Parents Services Co-operative on Sydney’s north shore, said there are many hidden costs of public education.
“The bits and pieces like pens and paper and shoes and backpacks,” he said. “It’s often lots of little things rather than the big excursions and those things.”
Despite the soaring costs, Daniella Di Santo from Concord plans to send both her daughters to private schools from kindergarten to year 12. Her eldest Sienna, 5 will start school this year at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield where the annual fees rise from $11,400 in primary school to $18,825 in year 11 and 12.
“It’s always going to be a worry but we started to think about it a few years ago so we haven’t made a rash decision and we’ve planned it out over the next 15 years or so,” she said. “My husband and I decided that the best we can do for our children is to give them the best education available so they can have every opportunity available.”
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